Each month I will be featuring a different healthy food on my blog, discussing why it is good for you, and also providing you with a couple of recipes for the food.
Since April is my birthday month, I’m starting with one of my all-time favs - spinach! There is a reason that Popeye was always eating so much spinach - it is one of the healthiest foods you can possibly eat! Spinach is extremely nutrient dense. This means that while it is low in calories (only 7 calories per cup), it packs a huge punch of vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients (naturally occurring components in food that help prevent and fight disease).
Spinach is high in iron, fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, & folate, among other nutrients. Like all plant foods, it contains 0 grams of cholesterol. Spinach is such a healthy food that everyone should try to eat some of it every single day!
Here are some ideas to get more spinach into your diet:
Spice up salads - Mix baby spinach with your salad lettuce to add color, flavor, vitamins, minerals, & nutrients.
Fun with family favorites - Thaw and drain a package of frozen spinach and add to layers of a lasagna. Toss a few handfuls of spinach on top of a pizza.
Drink your greens - Add a handful or two of spinach into home-made smoothies
Simple dinner side - Purchase fresh or frozen spinach in a bag that can be quickly and easily microwaved
I’m SUPER excited to announce a partnership with Shawn Wellersdick, head chef and owner of Port Land Grille! Shawn is one of the most acclaimed chefs in North Carolina with a long list of accolades to his name and an equally long list of praise for his Port Land Grille. Some highlights of his 20+ year career as a chef include:
- Shawn is a graduate of the prestigious Johnson & Wales University, where he chosen by his instructors and peers to represent his school in the Collegiate Culinary Olympics, ultimately winning 2nd place in North America
- Shawn & Port Land Grille have received numerous accolades and have been consistently rate among top chefs/restaurants in NC by Greensboro News & Record, Wilmington Star News, SANTE Magazine, Metro Magazine, & Charlotte Observer, among others.
- Port Land Grill has received the coveted DiRoNA Award (Distinguished Restaurants of North America)
- Port Land Grille has been awarded “Best Wine List” in the country, specializing in small production Artesian wineries from North America
- Shawn currently serves on the North Carolina Chef’s advisory board for North Carolina Pork Council, North Carolina Sweet Potato Council, & North Carolina Seafood Council
- Shawn has been selected twice to represent our state of NC at the Great American Seafood Challenge in New Orleans that is featured annually on the Food Network Channel
- Shawn is a recurrent personality on UNC TV’s Flavor NC
|Me (in the pink shoes) drafting off Shawn (black shirt) at Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon 2014!|
Shawn will be contributing tasty recipes containing the healthy foods of the month. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I can’t wait to make this!
Braised Baby Organic Spinach with White Beans & Sweet Peppers
Serves 6-8 portions
10 oz. Baby Organic Spinach
1, 15 oz can of canned organic Great Northern Beans (drained) or you can substitute any other type if there is a personal preference.
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Large Shallots, julienned (thinly sliced)
1 medium sized red bell pepper, julienned
1 medium sized yellow bell pepper, julienned
4-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced (shaved)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1.5 tablespoons ground fennel seed
4 ounces vegetable stock or water
1 lemon for zest
Sea Salt and Ground Black Pepper to taste
In a heavy bottomed stainless steal pan add the olive oil, shallots, bell peppers, red pepper flakes and fennel. Cover with a lid and sweet vegetables and aromatics over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stirring every few minutes. Once vegetables are tender add spinach, vegetable stock, white beans, season with salt and pepper. Cover and contuine to simmer for 5-6 minutes. Enough time to wilt spinach. Stir every 1 or 2. Once spinach is wilted and vegetables and beans are well incorporated zest 1 lemon over spinach mixture, stir and taste for seasoning adjust salt and pepper to personal preference.
This can be served as sides or as a main dish. Also this can be made a head of time and reused for a week.
Happy cooking & be sure to come into TOPS for more healthy spinach recipes!